- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2020

An environmental group criticized a new regulation that the Department of the Interior is set to announce that would relax a rule penalizing businesses that cause the deaths of birds.

“If this rule had been in place at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, which killed more than one million birds, BP would not have had to pay $100 million in fines for violating federal laws that protect birds,” said Alan Zibel, research director for Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt “has no interest in holding big energy companies accountable.”

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration was moving to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by removing oil and gas companies as well as construction crews from the list of organizations that could be held liable for “incidental” kills of birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits “by any means or in any manner” to hunt, take, capture or kill birds, nests or eggs from listed species without a permit. In 2015, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an Obama administration’s prosecution of an oil company under the law.

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